Being single in a married world is tough, especially if you want to be married. The want can be coupled with insecurity, fear and discouragement. I was single well into my 30s, and being single was a struggle for me, but I learned a few things along the way. If I were to give myself advice while I was still single and in my 20s, here’s what it would be.
1. Trust God more
It’s easy to get discouraged when life isn’t working out as you envisioned and when prayers remain unanswered. Your faith in God is what will carry you through the hard times. Make it a priority to build a personal relationship with him. It requires work, discipline and obedience, but it is worth it. God has a plan for you, and it is better than you could have ever imagined, but you must trust him — his words, ways and timing.
2. Worry less
Most of your worries will be about things you can’t control or things that will never happen. Worrying zaps your time, energy and emotion. Channel your energy into things that are productive: developing a skill, working harder in school or at your job, volunteering, etc. But the only real solution I found for worrying less is trusting God more.
3. Be the right person
While it’s important to put effort into finding the right person, it’s equally important to invest in being the right person. Would the perfect person you’re looking for want to be with you? Do you possess the qualities that you want in a spouse? We tend to be attracted to people and things similar to us. Be the magnet for whatever (or whomever) you want to attract.
4. Spend less time in dead-end relationships
If you find yourself in a relationship that isn’t right for you, be brave, get out and move on. Staying in the wrong relationship will only hold you back from finding the right one. Listen to your gut, solicit support from friends and family if necessary, and find the courage to do the right thing. Time is fleeting, so use it wisely. There is nothing more painful than wishing you could get back wasted time.
5. Don’t let your marital status define you
You are a friend, a contributor, a leader, a peacemaker, a problem solver, a confidant and a supporter. None of these roles has anything to do with whether you are single or married. Your marital status doesn’t define you; your character does. Don’t think that being single makes you inferior in some way, because it doesn’t.
6. Don’t compare lives
You are unique and so is your path. Just because your journey in life isn’t the same as everyone else’s (or so it seems), it doesn’t matter. Comparison can steal your joy, stir up feelings of envy, damage your self-esteem and make you feel depressed. Love your life. Create the life you want — married or not. It is your story, so choose to write a good one.
7. Maximize your time being single
When I was single, married people used to tell me, “Being single is so fun. Enjoy it while you can.” But there was little talk about maximizing my time and opportunities. When you have a family, life becomes less flexible with added responsibility. But when you are single, you have the time to work on yourself, time to invest in your career, the ability to travel on a whim, the opportunity to take more risks, the freedom to try new things, the ability to save more for your future, etc. Choose to do something worthwhile with your time.
8. Base decisions on the present and not on ‘what if’
Some people make life decisions on what-ifs: What if I get married? What if I have kids? What if I live in Alaska someday? The what-ifs dictate what they study in school, where they live, what type of jobs they pursue and beyond. (My observation is that women tend to do this more than men.) But the thing is, you don’t know what the future holds and if/when those things are going to happen. Be prayerful about all decisions, but make your decisions based on present circumstances and opportunities.
9. Live for something greater than yourself19 comments on this story
Being single can be a lonely and selfish existence, if you let it be. When you only think about what you want, your circumstances and your problems, it is easy to get caught up in your own little world. A good way to combat this is serving others. Get outside yourself and help someone. Uplift them, encourage them, be a friend. I’ve found that a service-oriented life is much happier than one that is self-consumed.
10. Be grateful for what you have
Some of the best advice I received from my dad was in my late 20s when I was feeling sorry for myself that I wasn’t married. He said, “Brooke, don’t focus on what the Lord has withheld from you, but focus on what he has given you." This was a game-changer for me. Regardless of your circumstance, there is always so much to be grateful for. Choose to be happy.
This article by Brooke Clawson Moss originally appeared on her blog, From Miss to Mrs. It has been shared here with the author's permission. She is an entrepreneur, marketer, new wife and blogger who shares candidly about the challenges of being a single woman of faith. Read more from her on her blog, www.frommisstomrs.co.